A month ago in Brooks, Alberta, Jim Third’s dog ran away from home. After five weeks of posting on missing pet platforms and scouring the Trans-Canada Highway where Vader was last seen, Third had lost hope.
“I was getting a speech ready [about how] we might not see him again,” he said in the Facebook video, remarking on the difficult conversation he was going to have with his children. “And then just as I was finishing up my speech prep, my phone just went crazy.”
He was being tagged in photos from Steinbach, Manitoba, where a dog matching Vader’s description was seen wandering around town. That’s 1,100 kilometres away—two provinces away!
He had seen false leads before—with images of other dogs flooding his news feed—and didn’t think this long-distance pup could be his. But once Third considered the photos, he began to hope again. After confirming the distinct pattern on his tongue and his signature asymmetrical ears, officials were convinced that this unlikely traveler was indeed the Third’s beloved Vader.
This weary traveler first went missing when he took off to chase a rabbit or other small animal. His collar, usually around his neck, was removed to dry after a bath. It is thought that someone had picked up the dog in Alberta and driven to Manitoba, but got spooked when they saw “stolen dog” posts and let him go.
Now, five weeks gone, Vader was ready to come home. In came Maggie Rae, a member of the animal-loving group of long-distance truckers Furry Hobos N Hiway Heroes. She agreed to transport the animal, free of charge, back to his Alberta home and the anxiously awaiting Third family.
Luckily, she caught the whole thing on camera, and from the excessive amount of tail-wagging, we’d say Vader is happy to be home.
Video courtesy of Facebook/Margaret Rae